Bang Rak District
Bangrak, Bangkok Thailand
Khet location in Bangkok
|• Total||5.54 km2 (2.14 sq mi)|
|• Density||10,926/km2 (28,300/sq mi)|
|Time zone||ICT (UTC+7)|
Bang Rak (Thai: บางรัก; IPA: [bāːŋ rák]) is one of the 50 districts (khet) of Bangkok, Thailand. The district is bounded by four other districts (from north clockwise): Pathum Wan, Sathon, Khlong San (across Chao Phraya River), and Samphanthawong. It was established in 1912.
There are two theories about the district name, Bang Rak. One theory suggests that the original name for the area which become Bang Rak was written in Thai as บางรักษ์ (also pronounced Bang Rak) meaning village of cure due to the presence of a famous hospital. Through time the Thai spelling was shortened to the current form, meaning village of love. The second theory by Phraya Anuman Ratchathon suggests that Rak refers a kind of plant and there was one of such plant in a canal in the district. Because Bang Rak can mean village of love, now the district is the most popular place to register marriages especially on Valentine's Day in each year.
The district is divided into five sub-districts (kwaeng).
Bang Rak is known for its commercial area around Si Lom Road (also written Silom). The land properties on Si Lom Road are among the most expensive in Thailand with skyscrapers dotting the road. The currently under construction MahaNakhon Tower (312 m 1,030 ft with 77 floors) in Bang Rak, to be completed in 2016, will overtake Baiyoke Tower II as the new tallest building in Thailand. The current tallest building in Bang Rak is State Tower (247 m or 811 ft with 68 floors) on Si Lom Road while the nearby Jewelry Trade Center was once the tallest building in Thailand when it was completed in 1996. Dusit Thani Hotel, in the opposite end of Si Lom Road, contains a distinctive triangular shaped building, another landmark in the district.
Many shops targeting tourists appear along Si Lom Road, especially clothes, art, and jewellery stores. Much of the jewelry is produced in jewelry companies here. A few department stores are present in Bang Rak, namely, Silom Complex, Robinson Bang Rak. They are rather small compared to shopping centers in other areas. It is better known as a night shopping area for tourists. Along two sides of the Si Lom and in Patpong become night market full of stalls selling clothes and souvenirs. Furthermore, many pubs and go-go bars open in the nearby Patpong Road, a red-light district.
On the west side of Bang Rak is the Chao Phraya River. Several luxurious hotels are on the river bank, Oriental Hotel, Shangri-La Hotel, and Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel. The first one is among the earliest hotels built over a century ago and consistently ranked among the world's best hotels. Next to Royal Orchid Sheraton are Si Phraya express boat pier and River City Shopping Complex (actually in Samphanthawong), a shopping center specializing in antiques and arts.
Although Buddhist temples in Bang Rak are not remarkable, with possibly exception of Wat Hua Lamphong (วัดหัวลำโพง) and maybe Wat Maha Phruettharam (วัดมหาพฤฒาราม), various places of worship representing other religions are well represented. This includes the Thailand's most famous Hindu temple named Sri Mahamariamman Temple. It is also called Wat Phra Sri Maha Umathewi (วัดพระศรีมหาอุมาเทวี) or Wat Kak (วัดแขก) in Thai. A ceremony named Nawa Ratri (นวราตรี) or Dussehra is held by the temple during the first to the ninth day of the 11th lunar month (around October) when the temple statues were carried by the Hindu community along Si Lom Road. Some devotees perform rituals such as body piercing with sharp objects. Also in Bang Rak is Assumption Cathedral, which has appeared in various films.
The Bangkok Folk Museum (also called Bangkokian Museum) is also in the district as are The Neilson Hays Library, Bangkok's oldest English language library, and The British Club Bangkok, the last surviving international members' club.
Bang Rak is served by both Skytrain and Metro underground line. Most stops lie on district borders however due to its narrow roads. Skytrain stations include Sala Daeng, Chong Nonsi, Surasak, and Saphan Taksin while Metro stops are Lumphini, Si Lom, Sam Yan, and Hua Lamphong.
Chao Phraya Express Boats also provide transportation service along the Chao Phraya River with the central pier at Saphan Taksin. Other piers for the boat service are Oriental, Wat Muang Kae, and Si Phraya.